Yield: 10 servings Prep time: 1 hour, plus 4 hours to chill

This is such an elegant-looking dessert. You don’t have to be an artist to make it—all you need is a special Bûche de Noël mold. If you don’t have one, you can always make the cake in loaf pan, though I have to admit the special mold is what makes this look so classy.

ALMOND CHEESECAKE LAYER

½ cup unsweetened almond milk, homemade (here) or store-bought

1 teaspoon grass-fed powdered gelatin

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened

1 cup creamy almond butter (unsweetened and salted)

¾ cup Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener (see here)

½ cup heavy cream

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE LAYER

¼ cup hot unsweetened almond milk, homemade (here) or store-bought

1 teaspoon grass-fed powdered gelatin

½ cup Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener (see here)

3 large egg yolks

3 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, finely chopped

1 cup heavy cream

CHOCOLATE SAUCE

¾ cup heavy cream

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

⅓ cup Swerve confectioners’-style sweetener or equivalent amount of liquid or powdered sweetener (see here)

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (about 6 inches long), or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Crushed toasted nuts of choice, for garnish

SPECIAL EQUIPMENT:

Silicone Bûche de Noël mold, about 10 by 3½ inches (optional)

  1. Have on hand a silicone Bûche de Noël mold or a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. If using a loaf pan, line it with parchment paper, leaving some paper overhanging.
  2. Make the cheesecake layer: Place the almond milk in a medium saucepan and use a whisk to stir in the gelatin. Heat over medium-high heat until the gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes. (Or heat in the microwave for 10 seconds or until liquefied). Add the cream cheese, almond butter, sweetener, and cream and mix well with an electric mixer. Pour the batter into the silicone Bûche de Noël pan or lined loaf pan. Carefully set the mold in the freezer; allow the layer to freeze until frozen solid, about 2 hours.
  3. Make chocolate mousse layer: Place the almond milk a saucepan and whisk in the powdered gelatin. Let soften for a minute. Then heat the mixture over medium heat until hot. Slowly whisk in the sweetener and egg yolks. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, for 5 minutes or until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon. Add the chopped chocolate and stir until the chocolate is totally melted, about 3 more minutes. Place in the refrigerator to cool slightly.
  4. When the chocolate custard is no longer hot but still slightly warm, whip the cream until stiff peaks form and gradually fold the whipped cream into the chocolate custard until combined. Smooth the chocolate mousse over the cheesecake layer in the pan and smooth the top. Cover and freeze until frozen solid, at least 3 hours or overnight.
  5. To unmold, place the Bûche de Noël pan over a wire rack. Gently peel the sides of the mold away from the mousse. Press the top of the mold gently with your hands until the mousse releases. Place the Bûche de Noël on a serving platter and store in the refrigerator while you prepare the sauce.
  6. Make the sauce: Place the cream, chopped chocolate, and sweetener in a double boiler or in a heat-safe bowl over a pan of simmering water. Heat on low, while stirring, just until the chocolate melts. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla bean seeds.
  7. Remove the Bûche de Noël from the refrigerator and pour the chocolate sauce over the top. Garnish with the nuts, cover loosely, and refrigerate until ready to serve.
  8. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
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